NFU Cymru establishes dedicated water quality review group

29 May 2024

Welsh farmland

Ahead of the Welsh Government four-yearly review of the Control of Agricultural Pollution Regulations, NFU Cymru has established a dedicated water quality review group to inform the union’s position on this highly important issue which is impacting farmers across Wales. 

This follows the announcement, earlier this year, that Welsh Government will appoint an independent external chair to oversee the regulatory review process which must be completed by April 2025. Welsh Government has also confirmed that a regulatory impact assessment will be undertaken on the impact of the 170 kg / N / ha limit and an impact assessment will be undertaken for any proposals consulted upon.

The formation of the NFU Cymru Water Quality Review Group was announced on the eve of the 2024 Sustainable Grass and Muck event being hosted by the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society 2024 Feature County, Ceredigion, at Aberystwyth University Farm, Trawscoed, on Thursday 30 May.

Evidence and feedback

The new NFU Cymru Water Quality Review Group will:

  • Support the development of NFU Cymru’s policy position in relation to the review of the Control of Agricultural Pollution Regulations.
  • Provide a platform to gather cross sectoral evidence and feedback on the implementation of the Regulations which were introduced in 2021 (with transitional periods for some measures), together with any specific Welsh Government proposals for further changes. 

Group Chair

NFU Cymru President Aled Jones has invited Ceredigion dairy farmer and NFU Cymru Dairy Board Vice Chair Martin Griffiths to chair the group.

NFU Cymru President, Aled Jones said: “NFU Cymru is clear that the Control of the Agricultural Pollution Regulations are not fit for purpose and are resulting in significant negative impacts to farm business viability as well as contributing to high levels of stress and anxiety within farming families. They are a direct threat to food production in Wales.   

Four-year review

“In this context, NFU Cymru has called for the four-year review of the Control of Agricultural Regulations to be expedited and undertaken prior to 31 December 2024 when the Enhanced Nutrient Management Approach that allows farmers to operate above the 170 kg / N/ ha limit is due to end. It is clear that a long-term sustainable solution to N limits is needed.

New NFU Cymru Water Quality Review Group Chairman Martin Griffiths said: “I welcome the opportunity to chair the NFU Cymru Water Quality Review Group. Farmers across Wales and across all sectors continue to grapple with many aspects of the Control of Agricultural Pollution Regulations. This includes the very significant investment costs, securing the necessary planning permissions and achieving compliance with the draconian record-keeping requirements. 

“The pan-Wales nature of the regulations means that all farmers are affected irrespective of local conditions. We believe the review of the regulations should provide the opportunity to amend the regulations so they are workable and achievable on all Welsh farms, delivering the outcomes we all want to see including the continued supply of affordable food for all in society, viable farm businesses and thriving rural communities alongside improvements to water quality where these have been shown to be needed.”

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